Moving to Cleveland Park wasn’t so much the desired intention, but the fortunate accidental confluence of time and budget: I had run out of time and I found a great deal on an apartment. Looking in the area, I liked the vibe and the aesthetic of the neighborhood, but I had lived five years downtown in the thick of tall office buildings, ambulance paths, no parking, and general urban swell. Though just a mile or two away, the neighborhoods seemed worlds apart. I’ll admit: the day I moved in I had a little buyer’s remorse, feeling like I was too far removed from the crush of the fashionable that I had left behind.
One of those first evenings in early June, I went on a run to get the lay of the land. As I started my jog, I began down the long hill of Porter Street to see what was behind the major stretch of Connecticut Ave. I ran into Melvin C Hazen Park, allowing myself to go wherever the paths took me. I ended up running on dirt hills lined with trees and grass and streams and rocks and…well, nature. I was reminded of when I was a kid and we would bike ride in the summer to the edge of the woods and go exploring until it was too dark to see. I stopped more than a few times to take pictures of the beautiful scenery.
It occurred to me to wonder when the last time on a run through all of that “downtown” I thought I would miss, had I felt compelled to stop what I was doing and snap photos. Not once, to memory.
I think, to me, that is one of the highlights of living in Cleveland Park: the proximity to all things in the city, all things one might need, but still the availability of a more suburban, peaceful environment. That balance is hard to master but even harder to do with the charm that our neighborhood possesses.
I still have those pictures and I still run those trails. I guess sometimes running out of time gets you exactly where you want to go.
Carrie Jenkins is originally from Phoenix, MD, a small town in Baltimore County. A pastry chef and runner, she has lived in Cleveland Park for almost two years. She plans to establish a running club of for neighbors in Cleveland Park.